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Growing Eye Mass Leads to a Rare Diagnosis

 Growing Eye Mass Leads to a Rare Diagnosis

— Tropical parasitic disease is from time to time asymptomatic, but beware of unexplained ocular indicators

Kate Kneisel, Contributing Creator, MedPage This day

What introduced about a wholesome 28-yr-former lady to produce a gradually increasing mass in the inner nook of her left peek? That’s what Grégoire Van Acker, MD, of Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels, and colleagues wished to identify when she supplied for care.

The patient defined that she had been on a humanitarian mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lump had appeared 2 years prior to now and gradually increased in size since then, they reported in JAMA Ophthalmology.

On taking the patient’s historical previous, clinicians learned that she had by no manner had an peek hurt nor had experienced any different indicators.

She denied ever eating or having contact with snakes. Alternatively, she step by step ate crocodile meat as segment of her traditional weight loss program.

A physical examination revealed a subconjunctival foreign physique in the inner canthus of the peek. It became as soon as no longer mounted in space but did no longer designate spontaneous poke. There became as soon as no evidence of inflammation present in the anterior chamber. Findings of the remainder of the physical were unsurprising, they noted.

The team performed a conjunctival incision, which revealed a 10-mm C-fashioned larva, with a entire lot of annulations. They extracted the larva and the specimen remained immobilized following its elimination.

The larva, alongside side its surrounding exuvia (clear cuticle), became as soon as placed in 70% ethanol answer and shipped to the Nationwide Reference Center of Tropical Pathogens in Germany for sorting out. The lab feeble polymerase chain response (PCR) primers focusing on the nuclear 18S RNA gene of the pentastomid. After sequencing, the specimen became as soon as identified as Armillifer grandis.


“Pentastomiasis is a uncommon zoonotic disease introduced about by the larval stages of pentastomid parasites,” noted Van Acker and co-authors. In other folks, the infection in total occurs in these living or travelling in the tropics and subtropics.

Pentastomiasis infection affecting the peek is amazingly uncommon, and this patient’s case would possibly maybe well be the principle such myth published in an ophthalmologic journal, in step with the case authors.

Amongst the pentastomids that would possibly maybe infect other folks, traits equivalent to species and hosts differ by geographical plight.

“In Africa and Asia, the disease is from time to time introduced about by Armillifer species, which comprise snakes as their last host, whereas Linguatula infections are cosmopolitan, with dogs as last hosts,” Van Acker and colleagues defined.

Pentastomiasis infections step by step comprise the viscera and from time to time stay undiagnosed, since most other folks with the disease stay asymptomatic. Alternatively, “indicators would possibly maybe also produce when the larvae grow, migrate, perforate organs, or die, causing a solid immune response,” they noted.

In the uncommon cases when pentastomiasis affects the peek, it tends to motive fundamental indicators, even despite the indisputable fact that there are only a few descriptions of eyelid, subconjunctival, or intraocular infections. Alternatively, ocular infections due to the Armillifer grandis had been described in the Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically in the Sankuru district, the authors noted.

This patient’s case would possibly maybe well be the principle reported incidence of Armillifer ocular infection linked to consumption of crocodile meat. Crocodiles would possibly maybe also furthermore be infected by pentastomids, or the meat would possibly maybe well had been corrupt by contact with infected snake meat in a market stall.

Van Acker and co-authors acknowledged that of the many capability treatments that clinicians would possibly maybe also take into memoir, surgical elimination of the larvae is the medicine of choice. Use of antiparasitic medication is no longer supreme, on memoir of “the death larvae would possibly maybe also open an antigen succesful of inducing a solid immune response,” they defined.

Prevention entails mainly hygienic measures. In explicit, the following components from time to time linked to Armillifer infections would possibly maybe also quiet be done without:

  • Discontinuance contact with parasitized snake hosts
  • Consumption of undercooked reptile meat
  • Ingestion of food or water potentially corrupt with snake feces or pentastomid eggs

In the meanwhile, there isn’t this kind of thing as a serological check on hand, and morphological criteria and/or histopathology findings are feeble to produce the last evaluation. “PCR tests focusing on the parasite’s 18S rRNA gene and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit genes are legit diagnostic suggestions,” the authors acknowledged. Alternatively, in rural endemic regions with few high-resource laboratories, these are from time to time advanced to safe entry to.

Despite the rarity of ocular pentastomiasis, Van Acker’s community acknowledged that “ophthalmologists would possibly maybe also quiet take into memoir the evaluation in sufferers coming from endemic countries. Bigger consciousness for this uncommon but from time to time heavily symptomatic disease looks warranted.”

  • creator['full_name']

    Kate Kneisel is a contract medical journalist essentially essentially based in Belleville, Ontario.


The case authors reported no disclosures.

Predominant Source

JAMA Ophthalmology

Source Reference: Van Acker G, et al “Ocular pentastomiasis in human hosts” JAMA Ophthalmol 2024; DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2024.0685.

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